Sunday, May 24, 2009

God: Fact or Fiction?

In a time when we are so often confronted with the arrogant dogmas of militant atheism it is refreshing to come across a book which unabashedly shows the reasonableness of faith in the light of science. God: Fact or Fiction? shines with candor and thoroughness, demonstrating how faith and science are not in opposition to each other, rather they are complementary, for learning about the complexity of God's creation gives glory to Him. Brendan Roberts is a young New Zealand author who can discuss the intricacies of theories of evolution as easily as he can explain the catechism. Roberts explores how the theory of macro-evolution put forth by Charles Darwin came to influence several generations of scientists, as well as attitudes in society. While Darwin's theories of natural selection and survival of the fittest have many holes in them, they are regarded as dogmas carved in stone, in spite of the fact that many contemporary scientists have challenged the claims.

Roberts shows how when the supernatural is excluded from scientific inquiry, then nothing is left but dehumanizing materialism, saying:
The philosophy of materialism permeates the theory of macro-evolution when it excludes God’s involvement. The more we delve into the materialistic philosophy the more we are reminded of some evil characters of history, and consequently of some still existing. While naturalism is something based on natural desires or instinct. Dr. Neil Broom, Biochemist at the University of Auckland,and author, elaborates on how these two philosophies have influenced science and society:
The philosophy of materialism or naturalism very largely dominates the modern, scientific understanding of the natural world. This conceptual model has profoundly influenced the way we view ourselves as human beings within nature…Scientific materialism views humanity as a mere artifact, a fluke biological by-product of the vast, impersonal flow of a wholly natural set of processes. We are ‘caused’ by the cosmos, not the reason for it. Modern man is finally not anything unique or special.13
As you read in the previous chapter in the section entitled, Human Origins, Darwin brought how people view humans down to the same level as animals, saying both had different levels of morality. Once again we see this view echoed through the philosophies of materialism and naturalism.(p.33)
The results of naked materialism are evident in the last century as well as in our own.
The culmination of this philosophy of materialism bears its ugly fruit as a result of Darwin placing humans and animals on the same moral plain. It seems to have an eerie ring about it, one that brings to mind images of the holocaust and World War II as Hitler invaded and raped so many countries, and treated humans as worthless and expendable.

Darwin warned that future progress would be hindered by sentimental policies that protect weaker individuals. Hence, he set the stage for Hitler to seek the elimination of the sick, maimed, lower classes or races, or anyone who got in his way. This conjures up images of the 20th and 21st Century with the amounts of wars, abortions (the most defenseless humans in our world), and also what is now trying to take a foothold in Western countries, euthanasia. Euthanasia has opened up the door for the handicapped and elderly to end their lives, or in some cases for someone to end it for them. (pp. 35-36)
One of the highlights of God: Fact or Fiction? is that Roberts points out how too often Christians allow themselves to be put on the defensive by atheists, which is unproductive to say the least.
...Often good-meaning Christians act as if Genesis is a scientific document. They... feel that all of Sacred Scripture is threatened by the theory of evolution. Therefore they seek to defend Genesis trying to justify every single word. It is understandable that they feel that the Word of God is threatened, and yet it is unfortunate that they seek to justify every single world, rather than focusing on the overall message. The complete message they could take is, for example, that God created the universe, and man was the pinnacle of God’s creation. (p.55)
Roberts gives examples of how Scripture and science are not in opposite realms but often merge in ways that demand an accounting, as well as being a source of wisdom. According to Roberts:
Geisler and Brooks reveal a fascinating revelation from Sacred Scripture with the event of “God resting on the seventh day” still happening now. This is not so far fetched, with God being outside of time, then we could still be in the 7th day:
Now God’s work was all finished at the beginning of the world; as one text says, referring to the seventh day. And God rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. And, again, the passage above says: They will never reach my place of rest. Hebrews 4:3-5
Furthermore, St. Augustine, in Confessions says that Genesis does not mention an evening and morning for the seventh day, as is mentioned on all the preceding days, this is a change of pattern from every preceding day, and so it appears to signify that the seventh day may not have ended. This is not to say that God has retired, but that he has ceased creating new species. God still creates but as Co-Creator as the Catholic Catechism beautifully describes16:
Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which “is on the side of life” teaches that “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life.” Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God. “Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize Intelligent Design that they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters…. (pp.56-57)
The wonders of the primordial world have never ceased, since they are renewed in every new baby. It should be clear just from cursory observation that the elaborate design of the cosmos has its origin in a superior Intellect, for the odds of such complexity coming together spontaneously all by itself would defy all reason and logic. Roberts discusses the odds quite deftly, in a way that might be particularly engaging for teenagers, especially those with lots of questions. Roberts' book not only encourages inquiry but stimulates it, making one want to learn more about the wonders of the universe and the God who made them. Share


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the review! It was great meeting you in New Zealand. If anyone wants my website it's

God bless


elena maria vidal said...

Keep up the good work, Brendan!